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Mike Harris Wins HPT Belterra; Becomes Third Player to Win Multiple HPT Titles

"Cowboy" Mike Harris

The Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana, recently played host to the Heartland Poker Tour, which is in its eighth season. The $1,650 Main Event attracted 276 entries and created a prize pool of $398,580. Notables included October Niner Jeremy Ausmus, four-time HPT champ Greg Raymer, and 2012 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Adam Friedman, but it was “Cowboy” Mike Harris who captured the $95,663 first-place prize. Harris, who won Colorado’s HPT Golden Gates Casino Main Event last year, became the third player to win multiple titles in HPT’s eight-year history.

Indiana-Belterra Casino Final Table Results

PlacePlayerHometownPrize
1Michael HarrisNew Castle, WY$95,663
2Matt JamesHamilton, OH$58,990
3Casey YontzColumbus, OH$39,858
4Ben GriseIndianapolis, IN$28,299
5Ryan AshmanHubbard, OH$21,922
6Robert MatthewsShelbyville, OH$17,936
7John MichalakCleveland, OH$14,947
8Crystal UtleyMorganfield, KY$12,555
9Ryan AustinWesterville, OH$10,363

According to the HPT Live Blog, the first elimination at the final table came on Hand #17, which was in Level 24 (12,000/24,000/3,000). Ben Grise opened for 50,000 under the gun, and Ryan Ashman called from middle position. Ryan Austin then moved all in, Grise did the same, and Ashman got out of the way. Austin, at risk, turned over the {Q-Diamonds}{J-Spades} and was racing against the {9-Diamonds}{9-Hearts} of Grise. The board ran out {k-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{4-Hearts}, and Grise’s flush sent Austin to the rail in ninth place for $10,363.

Seven hands later Grise sent another out the door when his {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Spades} held up against the {A-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} of Crystal Utley, who took her exit in eighth place for $12,555.

On Hand #42, which took place in Level 25 (15,000/30,000/4,000), Harris limped and Matt James did the same from the small blind. John Michalak checked his option from the big, and the three players took a flop of {k-Hearts}{8-Spades}{3-Diamonds}. James checked, Michalak moved all in, and Harris stepped aside. James then called and tabled the {K-Clubs}{Q-Spades}, which was well out in front of Michalak’s {J-Clubs}{3-Clubs}. Neither the {5-Diamonds} turn nor {9-Diamonds} river made a bit of difference, and Michalak made his way to the payout desk in seventh place to collect $14,947.

Two hands later Robert Matthews joined him on the rail in sixth place after his {K-Spades}{Q-Hearts} ran into James' {K-Hearts}{K-Clubs}. From there, Ashman (5th — $21,922), Grise (4th — $28,299) and Casey Yontz (3rd — $39,858) all fell to leave Harris and James to battle heads up with the former holding a massive 10-1 chip lead.

Not surprisingly, the heads-up match was over quickly in three hands. In Level 27 (25,000/50,000/5,000) on Hand #117 of the final table, James moved all in holding the {K-Hearts}{9-Clubs} and was called by Harris with {J-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}. The {j-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} was gin for Harris, giving him a pair of jacks and a flush draw, and the {2-Diamonds} turn completed the flush to leave James drawing dead. The meaningless {K-Diamonds} was run out on the river for good measure. James finished as runner-up for $58,990 while Harris took home $95,663 (moving him to third on the HPT’s all-time money list), a $3,000 championship package and his second HPT title.

“We congratulate Mike Harris and look forward to hosting HPT in the future," said Sue Ascanio, vice president and general manager of Belterra. The HPT will continue at the River City Casino in St. Louis, Missouri, next month.

The HPT Belterra final table.
The HPT Belterra final table.

Photo courtesy of the Heartland Poker Tour.

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